73 Keepers by Jones 2010
Firstly happy new year and here's hoping 2013 is a great one for you and all your loved ones
This is a tough one to go for Keepers or Hopeland ? I guess Loss over hope in songs wins it for me , despite the title track of Hopeland being one of my favourite songs ever. The other reason is that the spoken pieces on Keepers just edges those on Hopeland.
Anyway here is what I had to say when it came out
Last year Trevor Jones lead singer of Miracle Mile took the plunge and released a solo lp "Hopeland" under his own name. This was prompted by a change in approach to writing and the more reflective nature of the songs , some of which were spoken word, poems set to music. I raved about it here. Well it seems the long school holiday for Miracle Mile is lasting a bit longer as he has recorded a follow up lp "Keepers"
It really does feel like a sister lp of "Hopeland" with again spoken word pieces along side reflective songs. Although this time the prompting is a sense of loss rather than a sense of hope.
For me there are a three key differences with the 2 lps, firstly this time the power of the spoken pieces comes less from a sense of simplicity and more from being immersed in a short story. The backing to these tracks again perfectly walks the tightrope of supporting and enhancing the mood without distracting from the words.
Secondly there is more a sense of flexing the recording muscles as far as the backing tracks go , and as a result the lp is full of small stand out moments , the hand claps on folding sheets the backing vocals on In Your Eye and the beautiful almost classical guitar solo of I deny. The use of acoustic guitar , piano and slide guitar mean these moments really shine. It is one of those lps that gives pleasure in the smallest things
Thirdly part of the this muscle flexing sees a number of the songs augmented by some fantastic orchestration from Miracle Mile partner Marcus Cliffe. I suspect the cost of getting an orchestra in means that these sounds are from a machine, if this is the case never has a machine sounding so warm and immersed in the mood of each song. For me these are the real highlights of Keepers and why much as I loved Hopeland ,this is the better lp.
There is also a comforting sense of familiarity in some of the themes and images linking Keepers with Hopeland and the more personal Miracle Mile songs, the search for blue skies, the memories of a white dog to the extent that there is a stripped down cover of the Miracle Mile song Papillon
Finally somehow Marcus Cliffe's production has created an intimate personal sound that is pin sharp. Even on my crappy car stereo I almost found myself looking at the passenger seat expecting to see Trevor with guitar doing an in car performance
If you go to Trevor's website here you can listen to tracks and get a free download of Ghost of Song which combines the songs of both Hopeland and Keepers , however if you do you'd be missing out on the spoken word pieces so I would buy the whole lp
You can buy Keepers here